Owning a small business is a lot like raising a huge extended family.
And like an extended family, you want to keep all the parts of your small business close by so you can always drop in to say “Hello!” or help fix the sink if it starts to leak. That’s why you went to Google and typed “Fulfillment Services Near Me” and picked the 3rd party logistics company closest to your location to handle all your warehousing and distribution.
But now it’s turned into a much bigger challenge than you ever imagined it would be. What’s a business owner or eCommerce operation to do?
Keeping Your Business Local and Global
Of course you want to support local businesses like your own! It’s not unreasonable, but maybe you should fan out a little bit and see if there are some 3PLs based out of nearby cities that can provide more of the services you need.
After all, most of the interfacing you’ll do with your fulfillment house will be over the phone or through email, so location is really less important than capability. Once your account is established and order fulfillment is running smoothly, you can simply let it run.
Here are a few things you definitely want to find in a 3rd party logistics company, no matter where it is:
- Global reach. Even if you’re not selling to a global market today, your company’s growth shouldn’t be limited by your 3PL’s boundaries. If you partner with a company with a reach far beyond your grasp, you can grow as far as your dreams.3rd party logistics companies with global capacity also tend to have more and varied relationships with shippers, meaning that they can get your package to Beijing, China or Scranton, Pennsylvania at the very best price possible. Saving money on shipping is always a good move.
- Big Data capabilities. Big Data is more than a popular business buzzword. It’s all about measuring the moving parts of the fulfillment house, as well as tracking the metrics related to your inventory, to help the whole machine work better.Big Data ensures that your orders are packed more accurately, your returns are handled faster and your customers are better informed, which ultimately adds up to a substantially improved customer experience. That’s something everyone can appreciate.
- Lean warehousing. It’s one thing to save money and another to get a good value. You can buy something of lesser quality and spend less, but getting a good product at a good price is really what everyone wants.Lean warehousing makes that possible, through the application of Big Data to problems like how to more efficiently move items from the pick floor to the pack line or just how many items to keep in the warehouse at any given time. Lean warehousing also encourages energy-efficiency, giving you one more way to help the planet while increasing your bottom line.
Next time you’re looking for fulfillment services near you, make sure you’re looking beyond distance and even price point. There’s a lot more to logistics than what you can see on the surface, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll be rewarded with value and capacity like you’ve never imagined.